Category Archive 'Vladimir Nabokov'

10 Aug 2012

Nabokov on Boxing

,


That ferociously raised eyebrow would intimidate any opponent.

Everyone knows that the late Vladimir Nabokov collected butterflies and played tennis as a young man, but who would ever have imagined that this rarified Russian intellectual boxed at Cambridge and once published an appreciative essay on the sweet science?

The Times Literary Supplement offers the first English translation of Nabokov’s December 1925 essay on a heavyweight boxing match between the German Hans Breitensträter and the Basque Paolino Uzcudun.

What matters, of course, is not really that a heavyweight boxer is a little bloodied after two or three rounds, or that the white vest of the referee looks as though red ink has leaked out of a fountain pen. What matters is, first, the beauty of the art of boxing, the perfect accuracy of the lunges, the side jumps, the dives, the range of blows – hooks, straights, swipes – and, secondly, the wonderful manly excitement which this art arouses. …

At the very tip of the chin there is a bone, like the one in the elbow which in English is called “the funny-bone”, and in German “the musical-bone”. As everyone knows, if you hit the corner of your elbow hard, you immediately feel a faint ringing in the hand and a momentary deadening of the muscles. The same thing happens if you are hit very hard on the end of the chin.

There is no pain. Only the peal of a faint ringing and then an instantaneous pleasant sleep (the so-called “knock-out”), lasting anywhere between ten seconds and half an hour. A blow to the solar plexus is less pleasant, but a good boxer knows just how to tense his abdomen, so that he won’t flinch even if a horse kicks him in the pit of the stomach.

Read the whole thing.

21 May 2010

“I Leave the Field of Ideas to Doctor Schweitzer and Doctor Zhivago”

, , , , , ,


Vladimir Nabokov

From the history of American television:

In the 1950’s ABC television Close-up! documentary series, John Daly interviews Vladimir Nabokov and Lionel Trilling, pt. 1 — 5:41 video — pt. 2 5:51 video

Nabokov lispingly delivers dismissive apothegms in an effete and frivolous style inevitably reminding one of Anthony Blanche, while Trilling is earnest, grave, serious, and sometimes just a bit obsequious.

Great lines:

“I don’t want to touch hearts, and I don’t even want to affect minds very much. What I want to produce is really that little sob in the spine of the artist reader. I leave the field of ideas to Doctor Schweitzer and Doctor Zhivago.”

“It was fun to breed her in my laboratory,” says Vladimir Nabokov of Lolita.

Hat tip to Cynical-C via David Ross.


Your are browsing
the Archives of Never Yet Melted in the 'Vladimir Nabokov' Category.








Feeds
Entries (RSS)
Comments (RSS)
Feed Shark